Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Washington Trail 2015 – Trail Outlaws

on 7 September 2015
by Hippie Nixon

by Hippie Nixon

I’ve not done a race specifically organised by the Trail Outlaws before, but they were involved in the Washington running club’s 5k fundraiser event earlier in the year, so I figured I had some small inkling what to expect from this one – some hilly, muddy bits and some footpath tarmac track. I wasn’t far off; the tarmac was mostly absent but there was a good mix of trail paths and woodland track – much more rooty than on the Washington one.

J & I had both read that there were some hills on this course – and they weren’t kidding! It started gentle enough, a long downhill to the river and a flattish short loop out to the main road and back in. Back to the drink and jelly baby station, so far so good, face full of sweeties and a rehydration pause (one has tried glugging from plastic cups while running before and does not wish to repeat the experience!), off we went again – over the bridge and…up. On to a steep road which put us into the woodland section, on a narrow trail with tree-roots which was more technical (read: higher ankle-breaking-potential) than where I usually go, but was really enjoyable and peaceful. It’s been a while since I’ve hit proper woodland trails in a deciduous English wood – and I really could have been back in Surrey running in the woods by my parents’ house.

There were a couple of sneaky very steep but blessedly short slopes in the woods – you either trotted up on your toes knowing you’d slip if you didn’t keep moving, or scramble making use of hands where needed! This took us out the woods and back on the tow paths for a long stretch of flats – very welcome and I only partially filled my face with ripe blackberries on the way through 😉 Another slope at the end to reach the bridge and turn back towards the jelly baby station (so much easier to look forward to than just a water station!). It was a long straight along the river and under the viaduct to our next face-filling point, and by this point we had a lot of space between the runners ahead and behind, so it was wonderfully peaceful being in the shade on a sunny morning by the river. I think I’m going to have to drag P back down this way for a walk in the autumn – it was really pretty 🙂

by CS of the Trail Outlaws

by CS of the Trail Outlaws

Foot bridge and jelly babies in cheeks (it occurs to me that this time of year I seem to be pigging out a lot while running – I can’t resist grabbing berries from the pathsides!), we were only half a km off the 10k mark so ploughed off along the flat and up the next slight incline – except the next people to come into sight waiting on a trail corner were marshalls and one of the Trail Outlaw photographers – no finish line!

by Hippie Nixon

by Hippie Nixon

Someone very kindly decided to throw in an extra 0.4km to the finish line back up the big hill we’d run down at the start…so incredibly generous of them <_< Some swearing occurred as we rounded the corner to see what was coming up. There wasn’t much puff left in either of us by the time we reached the top! We got a cool medal and some water and MORE JELLY BABIES though so decided we’d let them off this time…

We did get a cool buff in the finishers’ packs though, along with a bottle of water, kitkat and Trail Outlaw’s bracelet that I suspect glows in the dark looking at it. The buff has a subtle-ish skull pattern on it, until you expose it to the flash of a camera when it glows like it objects to its soul being stolen – particularly strongly at night! I shall have fun with this…


This race was right up my street – my favourite races have been ones where I can just metaphorically sit back and enjoy the scenery while my feet carry me about the place: I don’t look at times – they’re not comparible on varying terrain anyway, I loved running in the shade while the sun was out, and how much I felt I’d seen. I also find it really reassuring that there are areas like that even near the built-up cities spreading across the UK. AND there weren’t any flies! A massive bonus, especially by a river 😉

Definitely going on the race calendar for next year if I can make it, and I really hope the Trail Outlaws look at a half marathon version of their Kielder Dark Skies Marathon for next year – it looks like an amazing night, but I’m not up to that distance on a road in daylight let alone Kielder’s hilly terrain in the dark!

mapI’m still trying to do my pact with myself to eat better until the GNR, but with varying success – I’m not counting this race day as a junk food free day, as even though I don’t count the dextrose I take on longer runs as sweets, I ate way too many jelly babies to pretend they were just for running energy and not just because I’m a pig! This trail run definitely counts as an exercise session though so that’s another £1 in the kitty 🙂

I’m struggling a bit this week with the healthy eating – I’m too tired to be bothered to cook properly, and I know that there’s 4 flavours of Ben & Jerry’s and 2 flavours of Hagen-Das in my freezer (most of them unopened I hasten to add!) and they’ve been tempting tonight (it’s the day after the race now), but I’ve kept off knowing I’m only tempted to open them because I’m tired and feeling a bit low ebb – I’m not even necessarily hungry! I also know when I am hungry, I’m probably actually thirsty as there is no way I’m drinking enough – so I’m concentrating on that this week and hoping to finish this week on a strong note ready for the GNR on SUNDAY! That’s going to fly round…early bed and lots of fluids until then 😉 May as well make a start tonight!

Campervan Cash:     Food – £22     Exercise – £9      Bonus – £6      Total – £37

The GPS file for this race can be downloaded from Dropbox here:

GPX File Washington Trail 10k


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